Amy Anselmo, Psyche

I grew up in a family of makers. I watched and learned from my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, how craft making was an integral part of their lives that was more than utilitarian but rather a healing pastime- a way to pass the time when the day’s work was done.  

As a result, I’ve always been drawn to mediums such as clay, glass, metal, fibers, and wood-and the accompanying craftsmanship that entails hours and hours of meditative handwork. Making things that are process oriented, enjoying every stitch or sanding and polishing until something glows are what I find to be the healing power in making. The end result is always nice to achieve-but always somewhat anti-climactic for me. I get a lot from just being present during the making process and I love to share these processes with others as a teacher/mentor like my Aunties did for me.

My Italian grandmother taught me to crochet at a very young age and it has carried me through my life as an activity that both centers and calms me and helps me connect with others through the community that women have created around fiber arts. 

Doily and lacemaking are interesting to me right now as they are representative of a particular craft that is female centric-spanning generations of women as makers, creating intricate mandalas of thread-like yarns, made at a time before many women had even fewer rights and freedoms that we are still fighting for today. I have often wondered what they were thinking about as they made their meditative circles, bound to protect a mahogany side table from the rings of condensation left by a cold glass on a hot day. 

The large scale crocheted piece entitled Psyche (pronounced “sigh-key”) is named after woman in a Greek myth who is turned into a butterfly by Zeus so that she can be with Cupid. However, it is more about my own personal metamorphosis and freedom to be my best self without fear or judgement and take these wings to fly. It is also inspired by the wing murals that are painted in many places that encourage people to pose with them for photos, so that they can feel the freedom and joy of having a massive set of wings as well. 

I hope that during this time of reflection and change that we can all consider how we would like to come out on the other side and what we may morph to become the best versions of ourselves and our communities. 

If you take a photo of yourself and post it please use the hashtag #benningtonbutterfly so that we can see all the expressions of freedom and share them for others to inspire our mutual beauty, kindness, and strength. 

Other ways to find Amy’s work: